“Blaceblook”, a company by “Blark Bluckerblerg” is an incredibly creative pseudonym I’ve bestowed on a certain social networking company. Because I have to go to their office three or four times a year for work-related snacks and drinks and product training, I want to avoid causing offence.
They’re a great business partner, they provide quality service, they have great duck pancakes. I could be talking about Facebook, or I could be talking about some other social network. You’ll never know thanks to my fiendishly clever pseudonyming.
Next week is a training day which is usually fine, but there was a word in the e-vite that broke my heart: “Interactive.” Apparently I’m going to experience an “interactive and inspiring learning environmentaawwwwno 😦 ”.
I don’t want to interact. I want fact-based, graph-heavy slides broken up with amusing quips and bathroom breaks. That’s just how I learn good.
Ol’ Blark isn’t alone in this, as I get similarly “freestyle woo!” style sentiment when I visit the Sydney offices of the famous “blerch” company, “Bloogle” for other work-related snacking and drinking and training and occasional zooming around on razor scooters.
My own place of employment, whom I will refuse to provide a clue to, does not supply us with razor scooters but does subscribe to more or less the same ENERGY!! company culture playbook.
Today, like many other days, I was invited to take part in a “brain storm,” which sounds like epilepsy and requires everyone present to take part in warm up exercises to ‘get the creative juices flowing yay!’
What I want, what I really, really want, is to zig-a-zig-ah I mean “quiet”. Peace and quiet. And melted cheese. I feel invariably more productive and valued when I’m out of everyone’s way and they’re out of mine when I’m trying to be ‘creative’.
When forced into thinking up business brilliance on the spot, my mind blanks save for two ideas: “Bird Internet?”
Which says something about my TV viewing habits. It’s only after, when all pertinent information has been shared, researched for context and properly processed that useful things start to take shape.
But of course by then it’s too late. The brain storm meeting was only an hour long and now legal is filing a patent for “Bird Internet” code named “Project banana?”, millions of dollars are on the table and we’re on to the next business problem: “What Steve did”.
I’m not so much “anti-social” as I am “Highly sensitive to stimulus”. I do like people but I actually can’t filter out background noise and movement when I’m trying to concentrate. Apparently it’s called “Leaky sensory gating” and I’m not alone.
What these internet-enabled companies (and now schools, or so I’ve read) are doing is catering to students who need a lot of stimulation to stop them falling into comas. The problem is that it ends up exhausting people like me at the other end of the spectrum.
Being completely serious for once in my life, the office Spotify playlist has on occasion made me feel physically disorientated and stressed, borderline ill just by it’s loud obnoxiousness. I didn’t leave my previous job just because I was seated next to the radio which played a lot of Pitbull and Ke$ha, but it was a factor.
Stephen King played Metallica when he wrote, which is all well and good for him but in my line of work it’s a “faux-pas” if a child gets eaten by a clown.
Besides, it was his own music rather than someone else’s. “Other people’s playlists” was an actual method of torture employed by the CIA.
Darwin famously installed an angled mirror outside his front door so he could identify and avoid visitors when he was too busy pondering apes. Proust famously sound-proofed the walls of his office with cork so he could peacefully write French stuff.
If I didn’t work in an open plan office it’s entirely possible I’d have no friends. So I don’t so much want a private office, as much as I want an “office blanket fort” in which to escape to from time to time. I am neither great nor Darwin nor Proust. I can’t grow a big beard and I know no French except ‘faux-pas’, but I think my “Business Blanket Fort” idea has legs.
There’s a conference table near my desk primarily used for birthday cake storage. All I’d need is some heavy bedsheets to go around the sides, a ground tarp, inflatable mattress, hot plate for grilling cheese and a Wi-Fi signal. It would give me the “time out” space I need to really be a valuable team player.
Colleagues will still be able to visit me in my blanket fort, provided they know the password. The password will of course be “fart noise.”